Travel & conservation company, since 1991
See how we earn 5 starsTrustpilot - 5 stars
Africa Geographic Travel
Heron in a waterhole surrounded by sparrows
© Ed Aylmer

Written, and photographs, by Ed Aylmer

We have just returned from a two week trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Generally the game sightings were fewer than we have experienced in the past at this time of year, but as usual the Kgalagadi always delivers unusual opportunities to photograph animal and bird behaviour.

We were at the Leeuwdrill waterhole on the Nossob River road when we spotted the arrival of a black-headed heron, just as the morning traffic of Cape sparrows started to build up.

Heron in a waterhole surrounded by sparrows drinking water
© Ed Aylmer

As the sparrows came down en masse to drink, the heron would pace up and down the waterhole looking for potential targets.

Heron catching a sparrow in a waterhole
© Ed Aylmer

Eventually the heron honed in on its target, suddenly shot forward, grabbed a Cape sparrow and proceeded to swallow it whole!

Heron capturing a sparrow
© Ed Aylmer

It was fascinating to firstly see this heron in the Kgalagadi, and secondly to see a bird catching and eating small birds.

Heron swallowing a sparrow
© Ed Aylmer

During our time at the waterhole we witnessed this heron take four successful kills!

Heron eats sparrow
© Ed Aylmer

To comment on this story please DOWNLOAD OUR APP. See details below.


  • Download our APP (mobile phone and desktop) to receive significant benefits including the best prices at Africa's top lodges, ready-made safari packages and networking with others like you. Find out more here.
  • Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to enjoy more stories like this. Subscribe here.
  • Travel with us. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Search for your ideal safari here, or contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation.

AG Logo

In the Guest Blogger profile, you'll see fresh and exciting content from a range of contributors who have submitted their content to us on a once-off or temporary basis, including press releases, campaigns and exciting adventure and travel tales!

Africa Geographic Travel